EU tenders


At European level procurement has experienced a very important development during the last few years. From the introduction of consolidated legal texts to the making of a more comprehensive procurement process, to the growing importance of themes such as green procurement, e-procurement and innovation procurement.


Public procurement in the EU represents 17% of the GDP.



Finding tender opportunities

In Europe all the tender opportunities above a certain level have to be advertised on the Official journal of the European Union; TED


The levels are decided by the European Commission and an updated version is published every two years.


The Member States whose currency is not the Euro then adopt the amount transformed into their national currency.


These values do correspond to estimated contract values without VAT:





The Rules Governing Public Procurement in the EU


A few texts govern how public procurement has to be carried out in the EU. These texts have been adapted into national legislations and might have received some alterations but the main ideas are to be found within them.


The EU Treaties

The EU Treaty principles on free movement of goods, transparency, fairness and equal treatment are applied to public organisations in the various Member States when they engage in the procurement process. This is a requirement below and above the EU threshold.



The EU Directives

Directive 2004/18/EC
This is the main text dealing with public procurement setting up the rules for the running of a procurement process. It sets criteria on what should be procured using these specific rules, as well as giving a range of procedures that can be used with provisions related to advertisement and timings to run a competitive procurement exercise as well as awarding contracts.


Directive 2004/17/EC
This directive mirrors the previous ones and adapts some of the rules to the Utilities sector (water, energy, transport, postal services)



Directive 2007/66/EC
Also known as the Remedies Directive.


Directive 2009/81/EC
Community rules apply to specific contracts in the fields of security and defence (military equipment and security equipment with a sensitive angle to it)


Full texts to be found:



Other important documents

The Small Business Act

The Small Business Act has the general guidelines on how Member States should help small and medium sized businesses develop. Some of the guidelines cover the procurement aspect:


Principle number 5 of 10 in the Small Business Act stands like this:

“Adapt public policy tools to SMEs’ needs: facilitate SMEs’ participation in public procurement and better use State Aid possibilities for SMEs”


It also offers suggestions to the Member States on what they can do to make the life of SMEs easier when dealing with tenders:

Set up electronic portals
Subdivide contracts into lots
Proportionality of the requirements
Exchange of good practice


Full text to be found:





Tip for success: Ask for feedback – you must be given feedback under EU procurement directives.